Police are under siege. With four shootings in two-days, it seems every corner of the Valley has had a recent deadly officer-involved shooting.
Blame the economy, says Brian Livingston who heads the Arizona Police Association, representing 23 law agencies and 10,000 officers statewide.
"There are no jobs," Livingston tells CBS 5 News. "We have people who are frustrated. We have people who are looking at any means available to them to try to make a living."
Livingston says he believes the economy and its ripple effect are the biggest factor.
"We're seeing a tremendous cut in law enforcement personnel and also (in) the updating of equipment needed to protect those personnel," he says.
No officers were killed in any of the recent shootings, but an Avondale officer was shot in the leg and a Scottsdale K-9, officially an officer, took a bullet in the neck.
Two suspects were killed and a third is in critical condition.
None of the shootings are related.
And in early January a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy was shot to death.
Rabbi Robert Kravitz has a slightly different perspective.
"Society is changing," says Kravitz, who has spent the past 18 years as a Valley police chaplain, and who has responded to many officer-involved shootings.
"I think the whole concept of authority and being responsible is just out the window," he continues.
Kravitz says he believes there's been a negative evolution resulting in lack of respect, chemical addictions and a lot of angry people.
"Everybody appears to be angry with somebody for something," Kravitz says. "And even if they don't know the somebody, they're still angry."
Sadly, both men agree this scary trend will likely continue.
"What we are seeing currently, I think, is a natural cycle that has occurred over the last several decades," Livingston says. "We've had a lull in crime over the last several years, as has been widely reported, and we are now seeing that change, starting last year, incrementally, and I think we will see more even more increase in violent activity in years to come."
Kravitz says the erosion of culpability will continue.
"People are struggling, and when people struggle their anxiety level goes up, and when their anxiety level goes up pieces of humanity go down."
Copyright 2012 KPHO (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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